From the archive: House-price boom may be stalling - 1 May, 2007

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THE house-price boom may be slowing amid fears of rising interest rates, according to figures which show the number of mortgages approved last month was 12 per cent down on last year.

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said just over 198,000 loans were agreed during March – 19,000 lower than the same period in 2006, a sign that some of the heat may be coming out of the market. The average size of a loan approved for house purchase was recorded at £150,800, 12 per cent higher than a year earlier, but almost unchanged on February. Economists agreed the downturn could be an early sign of an end to rampant house-price growth, currently at an average of £41 per day, but said a property-market crash remained very unlikely.

Martin Ellis, group economist at HBOS, said: “This could be a sign we will see a cooling off in house-price growth.”